Where have the laborers gone?

Readings for July 7, 2019

Isaiah 66:10-14
Psalm 66
Galations 6:14-18
Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

www.usccb.org/bible/readings/

The 72 were sent out to prepare the harvest. They were chosen to be the hands and feet of Christ. They went out completely at the mercy of God’s goodness and returned rejoicing at what they had seen and done in Jesus’ name. Yet there is no mention of a single one of them being present at the Cross. Perhaps they left in astonishment of Jesus’ teaching that his flesh is real food and his blood is real drink (John 6:55-66). Perhaps they scattered in fear when the rulers of the people seemingly won the day with their earthly power (Mark 14:50). Or, perhaps over the three years of Jesus’ ministry they just got busy with other parts of their lives. 

Today, church pews are emptying at increasing rates, and studies indicate “no religion” is now the religion of choice for a majority of people. Even those who once worshipped and praised, those who rejoiced in “His tremendous deeds,” are now walking their own way, away from the traditions and sacraments that were born from the teachings of Jesus. 

But why? From what I read and hear, many people today are put off, even offended, when someone says they are “religious,” or “Christian,” or “Catholic.” It seems that these words no longer simply connote love, faith, and generosity, but have begun to develop a reputation for being judgmental, hateful, or corrupt.

Admittedly, the criticism isn’t altogether unjustified. Grave human sin by some who were ordained to be shepherds have invited skepticism and disdain. Also, the politicization of religious beliefs pits one side against another in order to win votes, leading to starkly divided moral chaos more often than changed hearts. And too often I hear some Christian apologists arrogantly focus more on what others are doing wrong in place of proclaiming the joy of the Gospel. It seems far too easy to call out others’ sins rather than recognize and seek repentance for our own.

The criticism of us humans who run afoul of the teachings we deem to espouse may be valid, but they do not fully account for abandoning the institution of the church as Jesus set forth with the Apostles. More so, it seems we’ve bungled the message with our condemning words, our self-aggrandizing piety, and our holier-than-thou attitudes. Frankly, when our words and behaviors exude a sense of judgment or entitlement because of our beliefs, then we have failed to be fruitful laborers for Christ. We cannot prepare the harvest until we, as the early disciples did, go out and live our lives in complete vulnerability to the mercy of God’s goodness—and that means leaving others to be vulnerable to it as well, sometimes shaking the dust from our feet and moving on.

Moving on is our call to focus intently on living the joy of the Christ’s love rather than on bemoaning the distress of our culture. Because, whatever may distress me or my brothers and sisters, in the end, God wins. The gates of Hell will not prevail against what Jesus established through his suffering, death and resurrection (Matthew 16:18). 

We, humbly flawed but chosen, are today’s laborers for Christ. We must not abandon him. We must live as we believe, knowing that the joy of his message of love and forgiveness will always be culturally relevant. We will face persecution and we will encounter pain. But we can silently boast in our hearts of bearing the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, joyfully accepting the trials we face because we are fully immersed in the love story of our Creator God. And our lives can radiate that joy because we know from the center of our beings that He lives within us, providing “peace and mercy to all who follow.”

When we face trials …
If anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent.
-St. John of the Cross

In all other times …
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth, proclaim His glorious praise! Let all on earth worship and sing praise to You, sing praise to Your name! Come and see the works of God, His tremendous deeds.
-Psalm 66

3 thoughts on “Where have the laborers gone?

  1. Where have the laborers gone?
    by Tim McGee

    …….Quotes: Today, church pews are emptying at increasing rates, and studies indicate “no religion” is now the religion of choice for a majority of people. Even those who once worshipped and praised, those who rejoiced in “His tremendous deeds,” are now walking their own way, away from the traditions and sacraments that were born from the teachings of Jesus. End Quoted

    Tim as a Catholic Apologist for more than 30 years, I would like to take the time to respond to several of the GREAT points that you have made here,

    Loss of FAITH and Grace are the reason for this new Exodus from God’s Truths; what I have often referred to as the “ONE’S”; One True God (the 1st Commandant); One True Faith (Mt. 10:1-8; Mt. 16:15-19; John 17:16-20; Eph. 4:4-5; Mt. 28:18-20 no mention but a few), and One True Church Mt. 16:18 “MY Church” . I have come to believe; eternal optimist that I am, that the core issue is NOT accepting the reality of the Real Presence. I am unable to convince myself that ANYONE for ANY reason would willingly abandon Christ IF they actually understood that at every Catholic Mass; and IN every Catholic Church RESIDES GOD in Person; Jesus the Christ; Body. Blood, Soul and Divinity. And the responsibility for this rest with our Pastors (first) and ourselves secondly who do have a responsibility to KNOW what we believe and Why and How we are able to believe it. (I OFFER a completely FREE E-mailed course that Can and Will teach “you” our Beautiful Catholic Faith. If anyone is interested: patrickmiron66@hotmail.com); So there is sufficient blame to “go around.”… This New Exodus is self perpetuated.

    ……. Quotes: But why? From what I read and hear, many people today are put off, even offended, when someone says they are “religious,” or “Christian,” or “Catholic.” It seems that these words no longer simply connote love, faith, and generosity, but have begun to develop a reputation for being judgmental, hateful, or corrupt End Quotes

    I just explained the WHY. Excuses abound; but the reason is profound and singular asI expressed above
    .
    …….. Quotes:. And too often I hear some Christian apologists arrogantly focus more on what others are doing wrong in place of proclaiming the joy of the Gospel. It seems far too easy to call out others’ sins rather than recognize and seek repentance for our own.. End Quoted part

    I’m not one of “those”; indeed there is GREAT Joy; in fact the GREATEST Joy possible (1St. Cor. 11:23-30) Jesus Himself, who as promised in Mt. 28:18-20; has promised to “remain with US until the end of Time, and we can’t be more joy-filled than that.

    ……… Quotes: Moving on is our call to focus intently on living the joy of the Christ’s love rather than on bemoaning the distress of our culture. Because, whatever may distress me or my brothers and sisters, in the end, God wins. The gates of Hell will not prevail against what Jesus established through his suffering, death and resurrection (Matthew 16:18). End Quotes

    Many years ago I was taught that the “only bible most people will read is how WE {You and ME) lead our lives. (They will KNOW that we ARE Christians by our LOVE… John.13:35 “ By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    ……….. Quotes: We, humbly flawed but chosen, are today’s laborers for Christ. We must not abandon him. We must live as we believe, knowing that the joy of his message of love and forgiveness will always be culturally relevant. We will face persecution and we will encounter pain. But we can silently boast in our hearts of bearing the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, joyfully accepting the trials we face because we are fully immersed in the love story of our Creator God. And our lives can radiate that joy because we know from the center of our beings that He lives within us, providing “peace and mercy to all who follow.” End Quotes

    AMEN! But we cannot do it alone and God knows hat and gave us His Church; His Faith and His Sacraments to make our task possible; and with faith and perseverance, maybe even probable.
    Love and Joyful peace my friend Tim, THANKS for another profound POST!
    Patrick

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was a very good and convicting message that spoke to me for something that I have been going through in the battle I’m in. Silence is something that is definitely a Christ-like trait. I saw it very recently in my husband and his silence was STRENGTH that I admired especially in the situation we were in in the battle. LORD GOD, teach me to be SILENT when I ought to me, and when it is time to for me to speak, if it’s during the battle(s) help me speak from your complete guidance, so that it comes out right, true, and to the point and at best with no regrets. Teach me ALL of your ways and convict my heart when my mouth wants to do otherwise. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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